Hot-shooting Utah buries Utah State in Beehive Classic
SALT LAKE CITY—All the attention before Saturday’s Beehive Classic opener between Utah and Utah State was on David Collette, the former Utah State player now at Utah who transferred from the Aggies just two days before the start of the 2015-16 season.
All the attention except, apparently, the public address announcer reading the starting lineups. The announcer called Utah guard Gabe Bealer’s name, Bealer’s name was showed on the massive video board and…Collette jumped off the bench.
So it was a confused Bealer, who was identified as Collette on the board and by the announcer, that drew the boos from the USU faithful.
Here’s the video of that lineup snafu. pic.twitter.com/KLuEOIqo2v
— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_)
Then Utah got to work, seemingly couldn’t miss a shot in the first half and won 77-67 in the teams’ first meeting since the 2010-11 season.
Collette and forward Tyler Rawson combined to go 8 of 10 in the first half with 23 points and finished the game with 16 and 13 each, respectively. But Utah as a team was oblivious to conventional shooting percentages.
At one point, the Utes were shooting a blistering 16 of 21 from the field, something head coach Larry Krystowiak attributed to good defense.
“We were pretty dialed, you’re getting turnovers and steals and laying the ball in at the other end and Dave (Collette) did a nice job in the post. Offense is a lot easier when you play defense with the focus that we had to start the game,” Krystowiak said.
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Utah finished the game shooting 24 of 47 (51.1 percent). It wasn’t until Utah led 19-2 that USU’s Quinn Taylor started shooting.
Taylor surpassed his career-high with 20 points in the first half. That helped turn the 17-point deficit into a 47-36 halftime deficit.
He and teammate DeAngelo Isby combined to go 10 of 15 from the field (both off the bench) for 31 of the Aggies’ 36 points at halftime. Isby finished with 24 points, also a career-high, and Taylor had 22 (on his birthday, no less).
USU threw in an occasional 2-3 zone defense with a corner trap to try and stop Utah’s torrid shooting in the second half. It helped force some turnovers, but Utah’s defense then forced USU into a six-plus minute scoreless streak.
The Aggies showed life late when Isby’s pull-up jumper cut Utah’s lead to 69-64 with two minutes left, but the Aggies already used so much energy to get that close and didn’t have enough left to get over the hump.
USU head coach Tim Duryea bemoaned the bad start but said he hopes in-state rivalry games, like what the Beehive Classic provided, can happen again.
“I hope we can keep this going, but I was a little disappointed with the crowd to start the game, I think this is a really good basketball event for fans in this state,” Duryea said.
As for seeing Collette for the first time since he transferred from USU, the two shook hands after the game. Duryea said the two didn’t say anything to each other. Collette, the Utes’ leading scorer this year, said that he said “good job.”